Shop Life Columnists

Defining a Team

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How would you define a great team? Is it about effectiveness, the overall results or metrics? Is it the dynamics in which they work? The way they treat each other, or the way they treat customers? Is it their ability to innovate and find progressive solutions, or is it their focus on processes and doing what’s expected?

Well, the answer’s yes—to all of it, right?

At NOLN, clearly, we are a business publication, and one of our main focal points is to provide very tangible, actionable and real strategies and solutions to help you improve your operations. So, yes, when we look to showcase the Best Workplaces in the quick lube and maintenance industry, we try to identify some very concrete aspects to draw comparisons between all the businesses that were nominated. We look at business size (staff, sales, car count, locations, etc.), benefits offered, training and education opportunities, community involvement, and a number of other areas. 

And when our team selects which operations win out, what’s the deciding factor? Well, again, it’s all of it, including many intangibles that require some subjective judgement that come through interviews and discussions. 

Recently, I visited a shop that was humming through a busy day. The waiting room was full (yet, socially distant), the front-office team was answering call after call, and the technicians were plowing through their work. This is a $2 million shop; they know how to do volume. Yes, they have solid processes in place, and they have the right shop layout, equipment, tools, software, and training to ensure efficient work. When I asked the owner what he felt was the single greatest factor in their success, he answered immediately: “My people; they work as a team.” Asked what makes them a great team, the answer wasn’t quite as immediate. He listed off a dozen or so items, and even more examples. Realizing he was rambling a bit, he stopped. 

“I mean, just look,” he finally said. “You know it when you see it.”

Great teams are difficult to define and describe. They’re even more difficult to build. As you read through our stories about this year’s Best Workplace honorees, I hope you take it all in. There’s a lot there to showcase, and a whole lot to learn from. As far as stories go, these fall closer in line to a “show” approach, rather than a “tell” approach. I hope you see a lot of what makes your business stand out, and if you don’t, I hope you see what you’re missing. 

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